Page 4706 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 19 October 2011

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MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mr Hargreaves): Order! Mr Coe, I remind you your name is on this list.

MR HANSON: I make the point that even if you did believe that a needle and syringe program was the way to go—and I accept that there are many that do, including Katy Gallagher, Amanda Bresnan, people in the gallery here today—the ACT jail is the worst jail in Australia to implement such a program. And there are a number of reasons for that. One is the layout of the jail. It is an open-plan jail. It is not an easy jail to control. It is a point which has been made by Nadine Flood from the CPSU. The layout of the jail does not lend itself easily to implementing such a program.

There is a very complex prisoner population at the jail—male, female, sentenced, on remand and protected prisoners—which makes the management of the jail extremely difficult. As people know, trying to implement rehab programs, for example, is difficult, because you have got some programs available for only sentenced prisoners but not for remandees. Some programs are available for male prisoners but not female prisoners.

Then there are the problems that we have had at the jail, and it is not my intent to re-litigate those but we are all aware of them. The government claims that it is due to the bedding-in of the jail. That may be the case. I dispute that. I think it is a matter of management and negligence from this government. That is probably going to be an ongoing argument. Regardless, even if you were to accept the government’s argument that it is about bedding in, let us make sure this jail is bedded in. Let us make sure that all of the problems that can be rectified are rectified before this government tries to run before it can walk, which is essentially what it is trying to do by implementing such an ambitious program.

The other aspect is that this would require a quasi legalisation of drugs. That is not something that I have cooked up. That is a direct quote, and I will say it again:

Stopping the spread of blood-borne disease would not, essentially, be difficult if it were not for the fact that it cannot happen without a quasi-legalisation of drug use within the correctional centre environment …

We do not support the quasi legalisation of drugs but there are those that do. Anex do. They support a reform of the drug law so that it becomes essentially not a criminal offence anymore. I know that Families and Friends for Drug Law Reform do. But we do not. So it is understandable that organisations like that would support this sort of endeavour within a correctional facility, but we do not support that because we do not support that quasi legalisation within a correctional environment and we do not support it outside a correctional environment. I do not think that is inconsistent with the laws of this land across all jurisdictions and, indeed, the laws of the land in the ACT.

Let us just reflect on what the people on the ground are saying, what prisoners are saying, what many nurses are saying, what the vast bulk of corrections officers are saying. They are saying that they do not want this, and they are the people that have to

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